2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC748
Submitter : Mrs. Renda Van Doren Date & Time: 09/13/2005 06:09:30
Organization : Mrs. Renda Van Doren
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1. What should ?gluten-free? mean on a food label? Why?
Gluten-free on a food label should mean absolutely, 100% no wheat, oats, rye or barley or any derivative of it. This also applies to any cross contamination. The reason for this is that every person with Celiacs disease has a different sensitivity to gluten. A person with Celiacs disease may not have a reaction or symptom when consuming gluten, however, that person is still doing extensive damage to the interior of his/her body.
2. How do you identify foods that do not contain gluten? Time spent identifying foods?
I identify foods that do not contain gluten the following ways:
a. Keeping two separate binders that were compiled by two different Celiac disease support groups that list thousands of products that tell me if they contain gluten or not. Even with both these binders there are still many old and new products that are not even listed. Plus these lists are outdated by the time of print. A good example would be a supplier changing where they purchase an ingredient which may now contain gluten.
b. I shop at Wegmans grocery store. I buy quite a few Wegmans brand name products. Wegmans clearly prints ?G? with gluten-free printed underneath on the front upper left hand corner of the product label on many of their (Wegmans) brand name products. That makes grocery shopping very easy! I do not have to look at the back of a product and search through ingredients that are still going to be questionable. I applaud Wegmans!
c. The rest of the time I have to actually call the company to find if a specific product is gluten-free because there is no way of telling. Most products have the same common ingredients that are questionable for a Celiac.
There are countless hours that go into identifying foods that a Celiac can or can?t eat. I can?t give you any specific number of hours that goes into it because it varies all the time. Imagine taking two binders to the grocery store to page through to try and figure out if specific product(s) are okay to purchase. There are also the products that aren?t listed yet and I must right down the phone number of a manufacturer and then go home and call the company to see if a particular product is gluten-free and then add it to my list. The problem is there are thousands and thousands of products in grocery stores. It is impossible to memorize all the products that are gluten-free. Even if a person was capable of doing so Companies still change suppliers and now that one product might not be gluten-free anymore. You constantly have to call Companies back to make sure products are still gluten-free. So in the mean time you could be eating something that you knew at one time was gluten-free but to your surprise isn?t anymore but you had no way of knowing.
3. What percentage of foods and which types purchased are marked ?gluten-free??
There are less than 1% of foods that are marked gluten-free. Wegmans is the only grocery store that I am aware that marks some of their (Wegmans) brand name products gluten-free. I purchase their cereal, salad dressings, marinades, dairy products, and canned goods which are marked clearly on the front with a ?G? gluten-free.
4. Does ?gluten-free? printed on a product label influence your decision to purchase products having the same ingredients? To what extent?
luten-free printed on a product definitely, 100% influences my decision to purchase that product versus the product not labeled gluten-free having the same ingredients.
5. Would you consider a two or more level definition of gluten-free helpful?
No! I think that is ridiculous! When I go to the grocery store I want to get in and out and not spend all day there reading labels. Either it is gluten-free or it is not. I am not going to buy any product that isn?t 100% gluten-free. Having different levels just makes it more time consuming and complicated for the suppliers and manufacturers. Keep it simple!